Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar

Hi everyone and Happy Saturday!

I want you to meet my new friend Samantha. She is adorable.Samantha is going to teach you a few fun things this weekend and I can't wait. Please let her know what you think.

P.S. I went shopping at CVS and did the 5 packs of Coke and Xtra laundry detergent deal. I will show you the pictures tomorrow.


Homemade Dog Treats
As a Stay at home Mom to two young boys (both under 2 years of age), I have spent quite a lot of time making homemade treats and food for them.  But recently, my family grew by two new babies… we recently adopted two Great Pyrenese/Black Lab mix male puppies (Leroy and Jethro… yes I am an NCIS/ Mark Harmon fanatic).  At six months of age,  my four legged boys are over 60 lbs each and growing daily.  So being in the Mommy mindset (and wanting to preserve some of my garden furniture), I went to the local petstore armed with the after Christmas sales and a coupon  with every good intention to  buy my new boys some well deserved doggy treats that would keep them occupied during the day and save my garden furniture at the same time. 
After trying to determine if we would have to mortgage our home in order to purchase the treats (and yes… the Accountant in me did  take out a calculator and determine the per piece cost of each treat… it was more than I pay for milk for my sons but less than I pay for in diapers)… the Shop-a-holic was beat down and the Frugaliesta in me came out.  Why was I about to pay $5.99 for one piece of dehydrated pig skin that my dog would potentially swallow up whole or in two bites… and I needed to buy at a minimum two of them (one for each puppy). 
After looking at the treat very closely… I decided to take a little trip to my local grocery store and have a talk with the butcher before I invested our savings into purchasing treats for the puppies.  Imagine my surprise, when my butcher instead of telling me that it would be a special order directed me to a meat bin where the much desired raw natural pig skin was sold. And I could buy 2 lbs raw for $4.44 in total.  It seems that pig skin is a major ingredient in “cracklins” which in Louisiana is practically a cuisine in itself.   So I set out to make homemade dehydrated pig skin for my pups. 
One note before you make this treat… light several candles and turn the oven fan on as this does smell up the kitchen quite a bit.  I made this using my microwave and oven but you could also use a dehydrator if you have one.  The only other tools needed are a microwave bacon cooker , paper towels,  baking sheet, and a good pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife.   I wore a pair of latex gloves but this is not required…only strongly recommended.
 Cut the pig skin into strips double the size that you want the final product.  Don’t cut it longer than the bacon cooker.  Along every inch of the strip cut a 1/8th of an inch slit, this stops the strip from curling up… not that the puppies cared, they ate the curled strips as enthusiastically as they did the uncurled ones.  Put one layer of paper towel on the bacon cooker, then a layer of cut skin… continue this until you have all of the skins on the cooker.  The last layer needs to be a paper towel layer.  For each piece of skin, you will want to cook it in the microwave for one minute.  This part will be trial and error as different microwaves cook at different power levels.  After the initial minute per slice was done, I checked the bottom, middle, and top layers… then I added another minute or two.  (I have now done this several times and I add an average of four to five minutes....but that is based on my microwave).
While you are microwaving, preheat your oven to 200 degrees.  After you finish microwaving, place the strips on a baking sheet or several depending upon how much you bought.  The pieces should be about a  ½ of the raw form by this time.  Put the baking sheets with the strips in your preheated oven for twenty minutes and leave the door open (I propped my door open with mason jar rings and put a dog gate over the kitchen doorway  so my son couldn’t walk in and get burned).  The oven step is necessary to reduce the last of the moisture and to make the treats shelf stable.
buttonascaled.jpgAfter cleanup, I ended up with twenty dog treats the same size as the one in the store for  less than ten dollars.  (I estimated the additional $5.66 for the cost of electricity, gas, clean up supplies, paper towels and gloves… and candles).  The good thing about this is I know exactly what is in the treat that my dogs are eating and they love them.  And for less than what I was going to pay for one day’s treat, I was able to make ten days worth of treats.  I have done this several times now and the treats are not only easy to make but also my dogs love them.  Next, I am going to talk to my butcher about getting pig ears… as dehydrated pig ears are another dog treat that sell in the petstore for over $1.50 to $2 each.  And I know that my puppies love them. 
Samantha Bradley is the owner of “www.aspoonfulosugar”  a blog detailing her transforming journey from Shop-a-holic working Accountant married with no children living off two incomes into a Frugaliesta SAHM with two young adopted sons trying to live off of one income.  The goal of the blog is to be the sugar for others who are going through the hard bitter pill of the current financial market. The blog is focused on frugal living through reduction in expenses by utilizing coupons, strategic shopping, taking advantage of rebates, participating in giveaways and frugal lifestyle changes.

1 comment:

  1. I so love your blog! : ) Thank you so much for following mine.. it means a lot! I am not officially following your blog (all of them!).


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